I shared my goals for 2016 last week and how I am currently tracking against them. I must say it was an excellent exercise in accountability and it’s already filtering through to my day-to-day activities – I want to be able to wow you with my progress in my next monthly update!

You may have noticed one of the goals I’ve set for 2016 is to establish multiple niche sites. So I thought I would go into this in more detail and explain what this means and what I’m hoping to achieve.

In line with our SMART goals for 2016, learn how we are building multiple niche sites to generate extra passive income by the end of the year.

What is a niche site?

First off, you may be asking yourself this very question. What is a niche site anyway?

A niche website is a site dedicated to a very specific (niche) audience. With a niche site, you very strategically target a market with a narrow interest. The theory goes that if you dedicate your site to helping your audience’s very real and very specific problems, you will have more chance of converting them from readers to purchasers.

For example you could set up a niche website solely about bags for men. Or motorcycle luggage. Or personalised dog collars. Or pugs!

A niche site is often set up with advertising and affiliate links to encourage readers to purchase on the spot (after you’ve provided a solution to their problem) and is heavily optimised for search engines, to attract the specific market that the niche site is looking to serve.

You can find out more about the theory behind niche sites via the following sites:

Smart Passive Income – Pat Flynn documents his “niche site duel” where a friend challenged him to set up and monetise a niche site from scratch.

Niche Hacks – a site entirely devoted to sharing information about setting up and monetising niche sites (in some ways it’s the ultimate niche site!)

Niche Website Blog – which contains tutorials, resources and tools for understanding and establishing your very own niche site.

Niche Site Project – Doug Cunnington, an SEO expert, shares resources and real world case studies about building niche sites.

Digital Nomad Wannabe – where Sharon Gourlay shares her experiences in building multiple niche sites while travelling the world.

Niche Site Tools – another great site full of resources and advice for those wanting to set up a niche site.

How does a niche site work?

A niche site can generate a fairly passive income for you, especially if you concentrate on providing useful, evergreen content that does not require frequent updating. With a niche site, ideally you’d be looking to create quality content, ensuring you target the right long tail keywords so search engines can send relevant readers your way.

Next, you can sign up for online advertising to earn a little bit of income along the way and then sign up as an affiliate for products and services that align with your niche – this is where the real potential for income generation comes in. Ideally you’d be looking at marketing products and services that will address the problems that your readers need solved. You can also source and create your own products too, if you are so inclined.

A successful niche site relies on the following factors:

  • a good number of regular searches each month for your chosen keywords
  • a fully optimised site for SEO so your site ranks as high as possible on the search engine results page (SERP)
  • strategically placed ads on your site to capitalise on your traffic
  • generous affiliate marketing percentages (the more commission you get per sale, the better!)
  • good quality website content – you need to understand your audience, what they need and how you can meet that need in order to be able to market products and services to meet those needs and generate sales.

What tools are available to help with the creation of a niche site?

The biggest single issue we have faced in establishing our own sites is – “what niche”?

There are SO many options. So many possible keywords. And so many people out there already creating their own competing sites.

So what tools can you use to help make the decision easier?

Long Tail Pro – this keyword planning tool is the tool of choice for most niche site builders. It allows you to search multiple keywords and evaluate the following:

  • monthly search numbers
  • variations on the long tail keyword chosen
  • keyword competitiveness
  • domain authority/page authority of the top 10 ranking sites
  • domain name checking
  • ranking check for your own pages once set up

This really is THE tool that you will need if you are serious in setting up a niche site.

N.B you can also undertake keyword search using the Google Keyword Planner but it won’t provide the finer detail and the competitiveness numbers that Long Tail Pro can deliver.

Once you’ve decided on your niche you can set up your website and look at your SEO :

Google Search Console – submitting your site to GSC will allow the Google Bots to crawl it and index it quicker (which means it will rank in Google sooner). This site also allows you to identify any risks to your SEO, such as slow loading times, so you can address them.

Google Analytics – apart from all the amazing analytics information on audience, page views, referrals, etc., you can also set monetisation goals and monitor your site’s performance using this powerful and free analytics tool.

WordPress SEO by Yoast – if you have a wordpress site the Yoast SEO plug-in is a must. It uses a traffic light system to monitor SEO for each page and post and alerts you to issues with SEO on your site. It honestly helps me everyday on all my sites – I don’t know what I’d do without it!

You can then look at setting up your monetisation strategy using the following tools:

Google Adsense – you can get ads set up on your website pretty much straight away by signing up with Adsense. There are many other advertising options out there too, but this one is the biggest by far.

Then there are global affiliate marketing programs (such as those listed below) but there are plenty of smaller ones out there too:

Amazon Affiliate Program

CJ Affiliate

Clickbank

It is definitely worth your while to investigate all possible affiliate marketing partners to maximise conversions in your niche.

We are still deciding on the niches and keywords for our sites. You can spend a VERY long time comparing search numbers and keyword competitiveness for each option – it’s insane.

My goal is to have three niches decided by the end of February so I can start creating content, optimising the sites and, hopefully, make some money by then end of the year! I’ll definitely keep you updated with our progress too 🙂

Have you had any experience with niche sites? Any advice you’d like to share with a newbie like me?